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Olympians Confirmed for Champion of Champions event

Published on September 26th, 2016

The organisers of the Endeavour Championship can confirm that Olympian Ben Saxton and Paralympian Niki Birrell will be competing as wild card entries in this year’s Endeavour Trophy to be held from October 7-9 2016 on the River Crouch, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.

The host, Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, will once again be the base from which the competitors will leave in their RS200 class boats to compete in the ultimate challenge of champions.

Even though most of the competitors have sailed RS200s before, a morning of training and an afternoon of on-the-water sail training will be provided to refresh memories and bring all competitors up to speed with the finer nuances of this highly competitive class.

A total of 27 invites – a new record number – will include Nick Craig (DZero champion), Hannah and Nick Smith (Miracle champions), Archie and Freddie, (Aero 5 champions) and Luke and Emma McEwen (RS800 champions).

As always, to ensure the racing for this Champion of Champions event remains as fair as possible, RS Sailing will supply each boat with identical suits of new sails and spinnakers, which will be offered at a significant discount to the owner of the boat following the event.

Edwin Buckley, event organiser commented: “We are extremely pleased to be using the RS200 boats for this year’s regatta. As the racing proved last year, the pace will be fast and the competition will be fierce as the champions and Olympians fight it out for the ultimate trophy.”

Nick Craig, six-times winner of the Endeavour Trophy commenting on the inclusion of the wild card sailors said: “It is really exciting to know that we are not only racing against the best of the best in the UK but now also against the best the UK has to offer the world.

“The range of top quality sailors, tight racing and excellent race management make this one of my favourite events of the year. I’m hoping for 30+ knots so I get to stretch my legs in a RS200!”

Although the Endeavour Championship is by invitation only for the national champions of the UK’s most popular dinghy classes, the organisers are keen to hear from any class association that would like to be considered for entry.

Event detailsFacebookPast winners

Source: Sue Pelling

The Endeavour Trophy is a solid silver scale model of the J Class yacht Endeavour presented annually to the Champion of Champions at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch.

The origin of the trophy stems from Tom Sopwith’s J Class yacht Endeavour, America’s Cup Challenge in 1934. Following a pay dispute and dismissal of his east coast-based professional crew, Sopwith teamed up with ‘Tiny’ Mitchell, the Commodore of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at the time, to recruit amateur members of the club to form a crew.

Although Endeavour won the first two races against Rainbow, and lost the series, this was the closest England ever came to winning the coveted America’s Cup.

In recognition of this achievement, Robin Judah – respected member of the RCYC –established a series of races for dinghy sailors in order to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK’s most popular dinghy racing classes. Beecher Moore, former Endeavour crew, and marketing man behind the successful dinghy designer Jack Holt, joined Judah in his quest to run this event and presented for the overall winner, his solid silver scale model of the yacht.

The first invitation-only race took place in 1961 and the winners were Peter Bateman and Keith Musto, representing the International Cadet class. The event is now recognised as one of the ultimate achievements in British dinghy racing.

The competition is exceptionally challenging and those who qualify through winning their own class championship, are given the opportunity to race equally talented sailors in this unique, highly demanding two-day event on the River Crouch.

Given the diverse entry, which includes singlehanded, doublehanded, heavy and lightweight crews, and to ensure the racing is as fair as possible, carefully selected, strict one-designs are chosen for the event. The original idea back in 1961 was to use the club’s own fleet of 15 Royal Corinthian One-Designs but they were considered too specialist and would have placed a perpetual limit on the number of entries. The first event was, therefore, sailed in Enterprises.

Since then numerous one-design classes have been used for the event including the GP14, Laser 2, Lark, Enterprise, RS400, Topper Xenon, and the Topper Argo. The 13ft (4m) Phil Morrison-designed RS200 – a smaller version of the RS400 – was used for the first time in 2015 and will be used once again this year. It weighs in at 78kg and is an ideal choice to suit a wide crew-weight range.

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